The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Man Trip 2015

The first full weekend in March typically marks the time for the annual Man Trip on the north shore of Lake Superior. This year we jumped the gun a little and settled for the last couple days of February and into March. Only three of us, Best in Schow, ArcFlash, and myself, would be able to make the trip that has seen as many as seven individuals in previous years.

Duluth skyline


Amity Creek.....studded tires a must
 Friday morning the three of us headed north from the twin cities, AF and I in one van and BinS in another. We met at Park Point for the now classic, must do fat-bike ride in Duluth.....ride the beach. It's a fun route, deceivingly long and never the same twice. We spent a good two plus hours, messing around and exploring, including riding out on the lake ice. Riding on the lake didn't last too long, it was a little spooky and was nothing but ice heaves and broken, loose, chunks that made forward motion difficult even with studded Dillingers. After the first ride we headed over to Amity Creek and Lester River for a ride on the river bed. This didn't work out too well....Amity was a bit difficult with overflow varying from open flowing water to solid ice. We turned back at one of the water falls that was a too steep to ride up and would have required a different type of foot wear other than cycling shoes fixed with sheet metal screws.Back near the confluence of the two rivers we rode the lester river MTB trail, instead of the river itself, which was in perfect fat-biking condition.
Cross River

The pool on the left is way over our heads with lots of current...the ledge on the right is the only way around.....pass

Black Canyon from the top

Best part of the day....campfire and lunch

Two rides down we had one more to complete for the day, a group ride that was part of the Duluth fat-bike weekend at 8 pm that night. We had a little time to kill between rides so we checked in to the posh, Motel 6 in Duluth, and grabbed a bite to eat. It was very tough to get motivated to ride again, I was tired, had a little chill going and it was going to be a cold windy night.  It was great meeting up with a bunch of friends from Duluth and the trails were in great shape for riding, unfortunately I forgot the camera and didn't get any pics.
lots of overflow,  not typical on previous rides up this creek 

it's like 80 deg f in here and about 15 outside

Easy Muther Fuking Bake action

Dinner provided by ArcFlash
 The next day we headed further north for more riding and to check out a river I have not previously explored. First up was the Cross River, specifically the Black Canyon portion. I wasn't sure what to expect but was hoping for something  similar to the Devil Track River with steep walls and hopefully a rappel. We decided to travel up stream from the lake just in case we got into something we couldn't get out of by going down stream.  The Black Canyon would have been very dangerous if not fatal taken from the top. At the point of narrowing up the canyon is a series of frozen waterfalls and open pools with a lot of flow. There was no way around these open pools and surely would have drown the three of us. We did however get to preview the canyon from the bottom and then the top by climbing out of and around the nasty section. On our way back to the vehicles we stopped for a campfire and lunch. with several hours of daylight left we got the bikes out for a ride up one of my favorite north shore rivers. The recent weather played a big part in the way this ride would shake down. It was very similar to Amity creek done on the previous day and would be less than ideal with all of the overflow and sheer ice. I was a little bummed for Best in Schow's case, since it was his first time on the man trip and I promised him a great was not all that great.
we need more beauty sleep

more treats from the easy bake

home sweet home

 After the ride we again went north and set up camp at Cascade River State Park from the back of the van. I brought my wall tent and stove which we all fit inside of and spent the evening very warm and dry. The next day we went for the classic ski down the Devil Track River with the Barrier falls rappel. Although I have done this route a bunch of times I never tire of it and the conditions of this trip down were top notch. We all had a great day on the river and enjoyed a bit of a warm up from previous days as well as lots of sun. Once at the exit, Best in Schow bid us farwell and ArcFlash and myself were off to one more adventure of the long weekend.

doesn't get much better than this 

Wanting to tryout ArcFlash's new tent and my new up-sized mini stove, as well as a couple new pulks, we planned a short walk-in over-nighter on the Split Rock River. We arrived at our starting point just before dark and set off up river donning  head lamps. The moon was full or pretty darn close so we were able navigate most of the route au naturale'. It was a good test of new gear...AF's tent went up easy, was roomy, and did it's job well. The new stove worked great in the dropping temps and pulks were a breeze to pull. I have to give a shout out to Grant of Ski Pulk for the awesome poles and harness that worked exceptionally well. I've pulled pulks before with crappy home made pvc and rope systems that totally suck. The Ski Pulk system is by far superior to any of my previous construction attempts and worth every last cent if you want something that works very well.
bombs away

gear explosion

the sky's gone out

sign above AF's head reads...."one person on the bridge at a time"
 The next morning we pretty much just packed up and headed home. It was a good weekend as well as a good work-out with a couple great friends......... Man Trip 2016 will be the first weekend in March, that should give ya'll enough time to get your gear ready and join us.................D Rider....out's late....I'll fix this post soon...enjoy the pics...and your day

we were too cold and it was a little late to cook hot dawgs over an open fire....this worked nearly as good 

AF's new tent......built out of sheets 


Split Rock on the Split Rock River

Farewell...Man Trip 2015

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